We put Google Maps and Waze to the test

4 September 2019

Google Maps or Waze? These navigational apps offer a similar service, and they’re both really popular. In an effort to help you be as productive as possible, we tested Google Maps and the Waze app to see which is best.


Google Maps or Waze? These two navigational apps offer a similar service, and they’re both really popular. However, we all lead busy lives and when it comes to squeezing an extra few minutes into your day, choosing the right app becomes more important. In an effort to help you be as productive as possible, we tested Google Maps and the Waze app to see which is best.

Firstly, what are these apps used for? Google Maps and Waze are navigational apps that provide routes to destinations by using the internet, and they’re available to the public for free (although they use data). Google maps is the oldest app as google released this application 14 years ago, Waze on the other hand was officially released in 2013. Both of these apps are similar in terms of navigating; however, they have different advantages which certain people may prefer.

For our experiment, we tested Waze and Google Maps on two different week days but started the trip at the same time (9:30am). The trip started from an Engen petrol station on Mercury road in Farrarmere Benoni (JHB), the destination was set at a Virgin Active Gym in Bedfordview (JHB). The trip consisted of in-town driving and highway traffic to understand which navigational app adapts best to traffic and which app selects the best alternative route. 

This table sums up what we noticed after comparing Waze and Google Maps

After testing both Google Maps and Waze, we found that Google Maps was the better navigational app for this chosen route. Waze used a completely different route to Google Maps, because it attempted to avoid two minutes of traffic but was mistaken by selecting a route that consisted of many robots and stop streets. Google Maps, on the other hand, decided to use the nearest highway, which was the N12 and even though the chosen route had some minor traffic, Google Maps still managed to get us to the destination six minutes faster than Waze.   

Google was a lot more accurate in estimated time of arrival. Google Maps was accurate to a minute, whereas Waze’s estimated arrival time was five minutes out.

However, we noticed that Google Maps can be cluttered with restaurants and event locations which can make it hard to view the route on your mobile phone at times. A major plus for Google Maps is that your route can be downloaded for use when you’re offline. 

Both of these apps have big advantages over each other, and have many different features, which could compliment certain driving styles and preferred navigational driving techniques.

Google Maps features a more standard GPS layout which runs off a satellite navigational system. Some advantages of the satellite navigations are turn-by-turn directions without being online and Google Street View (which allows you to view the streets which you have added your destination on).

One of the biggest differences between Google Maps and Waze, is the fact that Google Maps has walking, public transport, biking and driving directions, which makes it a lot more useful to other road users that do not have their own vehicle. Google maps also has a parked car feature which helps you locate your car in a conjectured parking lot.

Waze has a community-based GPS navigational system that is shared amongst other Waze users. This is great for alerting other road users of accidents, police speed trapping, potholes, road closures, cameras and other hazards on route. Waze monitors your speed and alerts you if you’re driving too fast, remembers commonly used routes, traffic jam count down and police notifications. The biggest advantages over Google Maps is the fact that Waze will always use the fastest route, this is because Waze is constantly being updated by other road users of accidents, road blocks and traffic jams.

Overall, if your main objective of using these apps is to save yourself frustration and get to your destinations with the least amount of traffic then Waze is best for that, this is because Waze is very good at finding alternative routes before entering traffic jams.

However, Google Maps is noticeably more accurate and you don’t have to be online, which makes Google Maps slightly easier to use. The option of using Google Maps while walking, biking or by using public transport has a major advantage over Waze as well, which makes Google Maps our recommended navigational app.


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